National Security Adviser Steve Hadley sounds like he’spissed at Dick Cheney for leaking his memo.
Q The one that you talked about in your memo, though, that you thought maybe it might be a good idea to have Condi go to the region and have something in early December, remember, in the memo?
MR. HADLEY: I do have a recollection of the memo, and now you do, too, unfortunately.
Q You’re saying it wasn’t leaked intentionally?
MR. HADLEY: It sure was not leaked intentionally by me, I can tell you that.
MR. SNOW: Or the White House.
MR. HADLEY: On the eve of going to a meeting with Prime Minister Maliki, no, I don’t think so.
Q Did it upset you? Were you upset by that?
MR. HADLEY: Next question.
After one meeting with Maliki Hadley has completely changed his opinion of the Iraqi PM, which was established after his first meeting with the man.
Q Did your assessment of Prime Minister Maliki from your memo following your October 30th meeting with him, did it change after this meeting, or did you focus it down more? There were three things that you said in that memo about him, you said either he’s not aware of the situation on the ground, or maybe he’s misrepresenting things, or he doesn’t have the capabilities. What is your assessment now?
MR. HADLEY: I came back from that trip being very positively impacted by Prime Minister Maliki. It was the first time I’d had an opportunity to spend one-on-one time with him. The meeting was supposed to go for an hour; it went for two and a quarter. The last part of it was just the two of us together.
He’s a very impressive guy as an individual. He’s obviously got a lot of challenges. That’s the impression I had when I came back, it’s what I conveyed to the President. And both in his meeting with the press today and then the meeting with the President from which I participated, he just confirmed that. He says all the right things about his vision for Iraq: a democratic Iraq where Iraqis take responsibility for their future, in which all communities can participate, the need to get beyond sectarianism.
He says all the right things, and he has presented a number of plans to the President of how they want to proceed, both an accelerated transfer of responsibility, how they want to proceed in terms of enhancing security in Baghdad, how they want to proceed on their economic policies.
So he gives the impression of a man with the right vision, determination, is developing a plan and a series of plans with his team as to how to get that done. He clearly talks about his impatient to do things quicker, faster, better. And the President said that’s one of the things we like about him.
Q Do you believe him?
MR. HADLEY: Yes, I believe him.
Q In that memo, as Toby has said, you listed three possibilities, that he was ignorant of the situation, that he was misleading, or that he was incapable of putting his good intentions into actions. What’s convinced you that it’s not the middle of those, that he’s not misleading?
MR. HADLEY: Well, it’s just an assessment of when you listen to someone — and I think you saw in that memo, I was very clear about being very positively affected by what he said. I made a reference that it’s confirmed by other things we know. And the judgment of that memo was pretty clear, because the rest of the memo is how to enhance his capabilities.